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Thousands flee violent clashes in southern Colombia

26-04-2005 News Release 05/30

The Colombian armed forces are striving to regain control over a large mountainous region in the department of Cauca, in south-western Colombia, where members of the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia / People's Army) launched an armed offensive in mid-April.

The violent clashes, which began with strikes on a police station in Toribío on 14 April, have spread to the neighbouring communities of Caloto and Silvia, forcing thousands of mainly indigenous people to flee in search of safety.

In the last 10 days, the ICRC and the Colombian Red Cross have provided food and other basic necessities for over 3,900 civilians (884 families) displaced by the fighting. Both organizations remain on the spot in order to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs of the displaced.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Carlos Ríos, ICRC Bogotá, tel.: ++ 57 1 3 13 86 30 or ++ 57 311 491 07 75  

 Christophe Kleber, ICRC Bogotá, tel.: ++ 57 1 3 13 86 30 or ++ 57 311 491 07 89  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++ 41 22 730 24 58 or ++ 41 79 217 32 24